Connacht v Leinster champs square up for club football final

Connacht giants Ballina Stephenites take on the Leinster champions in today's All-Ireland club football final at Croke Park.

Connacht giants Ballina Stephenites take on the Leinster champions in today's All-Ireland club football final at Croke Park.

The westerers survived a tough battle against Clare and Munster kingpins Kilmurry-Ibrickane to earn their place today, whereas Portlaoise ousted Crossmaglen, who have a proud tradition in the recent years of this competition.

Captained by Laois inter-county star Colm Parkinson, and buoyed by former inter-county skipper Ian Fitzgerald, Portlaoise look difficult to ignore and line out with an unchanged side from the semi-final.

However, injury has deprived Ballina Stephenites of defender Enda Devenney.

The Connacht club player of the year sustained medial damage to his

knee in a challenge match against the Dublin U21s two weekends ago and has not recovered in time for the club showpiece.

The westerners will be looking to midfielders David Brady and Ronan McGarrity, the partnership that helped guide Mayo to last year's All-Ireland final, to exert an influence on proceedings from the off.

The team shows two changes from the side Kilmurry-Ibrickane.

Shane Melia comes into the half-back line for the injured Devenney and

James Devenney replaces the injured Kenny Golden at corner-back.

However, Portlaoise seem to have the edge on their western counterparts.

BALLINA STEPHENITES (SF v Portlaoise): J Healy; J Devenney, M Wynne, C Leonard; B Ruane, S Sweeney, S Melia; R McGarrity, D Brady; P Harte, G Brady, E Casey; P McGarry, L Brady, S Hughes.

PORTLAOISE (SF v Ballina): M Nolan; T Fitzgerald, C Byrne, E Bland; B Mulligan, C Healy, A Fennelly; M Delaney, K Fitzpatrick; B McCormack, I Fitzgerald, B Fitzgerald; P McNulty, C Parkinson, C Rogers.

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